Awful Arthur's is located on Beach Road, right across from the beach in Kill Devil Hills. The vibe is definitely "shore" and nautical, and the big long bar seemed packed with regulars and locals. Every single table was taken at lunchtime on a weekday. This place seems to do a business.
I started with a cup of the crab soup, which is described as "tomato-based, with lots of veggies." I figured there wouldn't be much crab in the soup, but once I started in there was plenty. This was super, and I should have ordered a bowl.
We were told all of the fish is local here. Other than the crab legs, which are obviously frozen and from Alaska. At this point I'd had my fill of fried seafood, and wanted something a little cleaner tasting. The Grilled Hot 'n' Spicy Tuna was sort of speaking to me, so I went with it, with low expectations.
Turns out the hot 'n' spicy stuff wasn't overdone, and was perfectly fine. The tuna tasted exceptionally fresh, and the two pieces that came with this meal would have cost you the amount of the meal itself ($18). I got through one piece, and couldn't finish the second. There must have been 14 or 16 ounces of fish in this meal.
The fried seafood platter got good reviews. I thought the batter was a bit thick on the scallops, but the fish was very good, and plentiful. And of course served with tartar sauce, which is probably one of my favorite condiments. I could probably guess what it is, but I don't want to ruin the mystery, so I won't bother. It's truly magical.
Soft-shell crabs were fried and came 3 to an order. The waitress advised that since they were small, we got an extra. Very nice. Very good.
The "dinners" come with fries, hushpuppies, and some great cole slaw. Not overly creamy, and with a good amount of acidity. We ordered several pints of cole slaw to go for a party we were having that later that night. I'm not sure if this is speaks to how good it was, or how lazy I was. I suspect mostly the latter, but without discounting the former.
Options for beer and wine, as with most of the other places we visited in OBX, were somewhat limited, but again there was a Fat Tire on tap, and some steely whites by the glass.
Oysters? We didn't have any. Not sure what type they were, but places like OBX and New Orleans seem to get local oysters and don't worry about those fancy names like Beausoleil and Kumamoto.
Awful Arthur's ranked about number 3 in our favorite restaurants in OBX. We'd certainly return again.
Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar : MP6 : Kill Devil Hills : NC : OBX : 252.441.5955